Portman, Colleagues Announce Bipartisan Bridge Investment Act to Provide Significant Federal Investment in Bridge Repair is Signed Into Law

Legislation will Provide Funding for Nationally & Regionally Significant Bridges

November 15, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) today announced that their bipartisan bill, the Bridge Investment Act, has been signed into law by President Biden.

The Senators have been pushing for this legislation since 2018. They fought and successfully included this legislation in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August and in the version that passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. The final bill includes provisions that will:

  • Provide $12.5 billion to fund the Bridge Investment Act, which establishes a bridge investment program to award competitive grants to certain governmental entities for projects that improve the condition of bridges as well as the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of people and freight over bridges;
  • Require strong Buy America rules, by requiring all projects funded by the grants to use American-made steel and iron;
  • Ensure that a transportation bill could rehabilitate or replace bridges of all sizes, including nationally significant large bridges, like the Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky;
  • Create an innovative evaluation process for proposed projects to ensure the fair and efficient allocation of federal funding;
  • Provide quick grants for small bridge projects and allow projects to be bundled into a single application to cut down on red tape and accelerate repairs;
  • Allow entities of all sizes and scope to apply for funding, including: states, counties, cities, metropolitan planning organizations, special purpose districts, public authorities with transportation functions, federal land management agencies and Indian tribes.

“I’m pleased that the Bridge Investment Act, included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, has been signed into law by the President. After years of desperately needing repairs, the federal funding in this bill means we are one step closer to a long-term solution for the Brent Spence Bridge,” said Senator Portman.

“Today, alongside President Biden, we’re showing that we can work together to provide real investments to rebuild and upgrade bridges across the U.S. to make them safer and reduce congestion. This will not only create good-paying American jobs but also make our country more competitive,” said Senator Brown. “Ohio has more than 3,200 bridges that need to be repaired or replaced, but states and cities can’t do it alone. Today, we’re showing we can provide real, bipartisan investments to help us deliver a new Brent Spence Bridge and make travel safer across Ohio.”

“The Ocean State has no shortage of bridges in serious need of repair or replacement,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Competing pressures on state and local budgets over decades have led to a massive national backlog of bridge projects. Our bipartisan Bridge Reinvestment Act will invest billions of dollars in bridge upgrades in Rhode Island and across the country, making roads safer for drivers and creating good jobs in the process.”

“Many of Mississippi’s bridges were built decades ago and are in need of major repairs. This problem also exists across the nation. The Bridge Investment Act will launch a competitive federal grant program specifically designed for bridges, allowing states like Mississippi to access much-needed resources to complete these capital-intensive projects. I am glad to see it become law,” said Senator Wicker.

“For far too long, the phrase ‘infrastructure week’ was nothing but a cruel joke for communities throughout Oregon and the country needing significant investments to deal with crumbling bridges and roads,” said Senator Wyden. “Today we delivered with the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law. And with the Bridge Investment Act included, Oregon will now have the resources it needs to fix our aging bridges to improve safety, create jobs and promote economic growth in our state.”

“From the drive to school to the commute home from work, fixing our bridges will help improve the everyday lives of countless Marylanders. That’s why we fought to include our Bridge Investment Act within the infrastructure modernization bill and why I was proud to join President Biden as he signed this bill into law today. This legislation is key to repairing our outdated infrastructure and is a big win for our state,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Bridges in Massachusetts and across our country are falling apart, threatening the safety and security of people who rely on these arteries for evacuation routes, commerce, and transportation,” said Senator Markey. “That’s why I am proud our legislation is included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will make an historic $12.5 billion investment in bridge repair and replacement projects across the country. This new fund will allow us to improve both the safety and efficiency of infrastructure like the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges on Cape Cod, which connect the nearly 250,000 people living on the Cape and Islands to the rest of Massachusetts and are in desperate need of replacement. I look forward to working with the Biden administration to implement this program so that we can compete for the critical funding we need.”

“Washington state’s bridges are in desperate need of repair and anyone who has driven anywhere in our state knows this—it’s not complicated, our families and workers deserve safe and secure roads and bridges,” said Senator Murray. “The bipartisan Bridge Investment Act is a huge win for Washington state and will go a long way toward tackling our state’s infrastructure crisis. Finally Washington state communities can count on federal dollars that will improve the daily lives and commutes of millions of people in Washington state who just want to get to where they need to go.”

“Pennsylvania has the third-highest number of bridges in the Nation and the average age of our bridges is over 50-years-old,” said Senator Casey. “By signing the Bridge Investment Act into law, President Biden is making a long-overdue investment in critical infrastructure to help Pennsylvanians get to work and school each day. With $1.6 billion in funding for the Commonwealth, we can make Pennsylvania’s bridges safer and stronger and create jobs while doing it.”

The bipartisan infrastructure legislation also includes a new formula grant program for states dedicated to providing further funding to our nation’s bridges. Over the next five years, this formula grant program will provide $27.5 billion over the next five years toward further rehabilitation, repair, and replacement of our nation’s bridges. For Ohio, the formula program will provide an additional $483 million over the next five years. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found there are at least 46,154 bridges in the U.S. that are ‘structurally deficient’ and 231,000 still need repair and preservation work. In addition, a report, released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, estimates it would take nearly 40 years to repair the current backlog of ‘structurally deficient’ bridges in the U.S. at the current pace.